By Cameron Chai
The Federal Government has released the national strategy that ensures that technological advances in the field of nanotechnology adhere to certain environmental, health and safety (EHS) norms. The strategy acts as a guideline for all the Federal agencies that are involved in the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI).
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The strategy will be useful for NNI to exploit Federal resources and facilities and to work on generating research data, which will be useful for the people of the USA and also enable protection of public health and the environment. The new EHS strategy has been drafted to be in line with the NNI strategic plan, which was introduced in February and was focussed on producing responsible nanotechnology. The EHS strategy is clear on the risk assessment and product life analysis concepts and puts forward a rational approach in protection of health and environment at all stages of product development.
The EHS strategy lists out six main categories of research that qualify as responsible nanotechnology, which are Nanomaterial Measurement Infrastructure, Risk Assessment and Management, Informatics and Modelling, Human Exposure Assessment, Human Health and Environment. Other legal, ethical and social aspects of nanotechnology have also been included in the strategy. Other points that are highlighted in the strategy are importance of informatics and predictive modelling; enhancing nanomaterial research through prioritisation, best practice identification etc. The data on which the EHS Research Strategy is based on was gathered from public engagements like workshops and online portals which attracted participation from stakeholders from industry, academics and public. Recommendations from outsider review of the NNI-Nanotechnology related EHS report of 2008 were also given importance in the report. NNI had organised a webinar on the on the October 20 to address queries and to highlight the features of the strategy.